Oct 1st 2015

Furst-McNess Company Transfers Operations of Consumer Product Lines

Below you will find the press release from the Furst-McNess Company about the transfer of operations of the McNess consumer products. Here at the Sugar River Trading Company, LLC, we are excited to continue the great products and service that the Furst-McNess Company has made a tradition for over 100 years.

Opening the McNess Store website is a first step in reaching out and introducing these fantastic products to a new generation. Please let us know your thoughts on how we can improve the site, the product line, and our service as we grow in this new venture. We're looking forward to building something for the next 100 years.

Randy and Cindy Gunter, Sugar River Trading Company

October 5, 2015

Furst-McNess Company, Freeport, Illinois announces that they are transferring operations of their consumer product lines to the newly formed Sugar River Trading Company of New Glarus, WI. Sales and management of the McNess branded consumer products will be handled through the new company.

Furst-McNess Company has sold consumer products since its inception in 1908. Products originally were sold by horse and buggy and were well known in rural areas and small towns across America. The products from those early years included spices and extracts, tonics, and health products for livestock.

In the 1950s, the company added vitamin and mineral premixes to its manufacturing base and thus started a shift from consumer goods to livestock feed. Over the years, the consumer products have still remained a favorite in many consumers’ homes, but the agricultural business has grown significantly and is now the focal point of the company's operations.

This has been the motivation for the shift of the McNess consumer product lines to the Sugar River Trading Company, a wholesale and retail company with a marketing emphasis who will be managing the operations of the McNess consumer product lines under an exclusive licensing agreement. All agricultural products will remain with the Furst-McNess Company with headquarters in Freeport, Illinois.

Although a new entity, the owners of the Sugar River Trading Company have had an ongoing business relationship with the Furst-McNess Company for several years. Randy and Cindy Gunter, managing partners of the venture, have owned and operated the Gunter Agency for almost twenty years. The national award-winning advertising agency has experience developing national and international marketing programs for companies that include Rayovac, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Kimberly-Clark, OshKosh B’Gosh, and Firestone on the consumer side. The firm also has years of experience working in the agricultural/rural markets, working for companies that include the Furst-McNess Company, Quality Technology International, Inc., and Merschman Seeds.

“Having worked with Furst-McNess Company for a number of years on the agricultural side, we have been very actively advocating to work on the consumer products side also,” says Randy Gunter, one of the managing partners of Sugar River Trading. “so when the opportunity came up for us to take the reigns of the consumer business, we jumped at the chance.”

“Our relationship with the Gunters is what made this business arrangement happen,” says Matt Heinrich, President and CEO of Furst-McNess Company. “Their marketing company has been involved in branding efforts for our company for a number of years, so we know they understand who we are and what our brand means. This trust was absolutely essential in creating this licensing agreement.”

Current consumer products include favorite baking items such as vanilla, peppermint, “wonder flavor”, cinnamon, and black pepper. Cleaning products include laundry detergent, pre-wash soil remover, organic cleaner, and toilet bowl cleaner. Health care products include aromatic compound and Krestol salve.

“One of our goals is to revisit the line of products and likely re-introduce some of the lines that have been favorites in the past,” says Cindy Gunter, the other partner in the new business. “We’ll be engaging past customers to tell us what products they’d like to see again. Plus, we’d just like to hear the stories of how McNess products have been used in homes over the years.”